On the Radar

On the Smugglers’ Radar

On The Smugglers’ Radar” is a new feature for books that have caught our eye: books we have heard of via other bloggers, directly from publishers, and/or from our regular incursions into the Amazon jungle. Thus, the Smugglers’ Radar was born. Because we want far more books than we can possibly buy or review (what else is new?), we thought we would make the Smugglers’ Radar into a weekly feature – so YOU can tell us which books you have on your radar as well!

On Ana’s Radar:

And now for something completely different…instead of talking mostly future (or new) releases, I shall feature older books which I have bought recently upon recommendations from friends and booksellers.

I was recently in the US visiting Thea (and attending BEA) and as usual we made our annual trip to The Strand and to Barnes and Noble. When visiting the latter, I saw the book below and was enchanted by the cover and blurb, so I bought it.

Young Wataru Mitani’s life is a mess. His father has abandoned him and his mother has been hospitalized after a suicide attempt. Desperately he searches for some way to change his life; a way to alter his fate.

To achieve his goal, he must navigate the magical world of Vision, a land filled with creatures both fierce and friendly. And to complicate matters, he must outwit a merciless rival from the real world.

Wataru’s ultimate destination is the Tower of Destiny where a goddess of fate awaits. Only when he has finished his journey and collected five elusive gemstones will he possess the Demon’s Bane; the key that will unlock his future.

Charity, bravery, faith, grace and the power of darkness and light: these are the provinces of each gemstone. Brought together, they have the immeasurable power to bring Wataru’s family back together again.

This next title was hand-sold to me at Foyles, presumably the only brick and mortar place to actually sell this self-published title. I bought it straight away:

Three friends, two enemies, one diamond.
Benedict Tempest had read in the history books about the theft of the world’s most famous diamond, the Star of Banhavgarh, from the British Museum in 1861. What he didn’t know was that he was responsible for its disappearance.

A breathtaking adventure with cheek-tingling thrills and more twists and turns than a plate of spaghetti, this book contains man-eating tigers, hordes of rats, fearsome warriors, ferocious dogs and worse. If you’re wondering what could possibly be worse than these things, twelve year old Benedict is about to find out.

Another one I got at Foyles, recommended by one of their awesome booksellers.

Penelope Tredwell is the feisty thirteen-year-old orphan heiress of the bestselling magazine, The Penny Dreadful. Her masterly tales of the macabre are gripping Victorian Britain, even if no one knows she’s the real author. One day a letter she receives from the governor of the notorious Bedlam madhouse plunges her into an adventure more terrifying than anything she ever imagined…

A thriller with a fast-paced cinematic style, Twelve Minutes to Midnight is an electrifying story from an exciting new author.

I also bought this one at Foyles after I learnt the fact that the main protagonist has a pet goose. I don’t know WHY that sounded so awesome to me but there you have it: me making decisions on books based on very random things.

Twelve-year-old Mosca Mye hasn’t got much. Her cruel uncle keeps her locked up in his mill, and her only friend is her pet goose, Saracen, who’ll bite anything that crosses his path. But she does have one small, rare thing: the ability to read. She doesn’t know it yet, but in a world where books are dangerous things, this gift will change her life.

Enter Eponymous Clent, a smooth-talking con man who seems to love words nearly as much as Mosca herself. Soon Mosca and Clent are living a life of deceit and danger — discovering secret societies, following shady characters onto floating coffeehouses, and entangling themselves with crazed dukes and double-crossing racketeers. It would be exactly the kind of tale Mosca has always longed to take part in, until she learns that her one true love — words — may be the death of her.

“Fly by Night” is astonishingly original, a grand feat of the imagination from a masterful new storyteller.

And finally, my last title is an upcoming one. Martha Wells’ third Raksure book! SQUEEE.

All his life, Moon roamed the Three Worlds, a solitary wanderer forced to hide his true nature–until he was reunited with his own kind, the Raksura, and found a new life as consort to Jade, sister queen of the Indigo Cloud court.

But now a rival court has laid claim to Moon, and Jade may or may not be willing to fight for him. Beset by doubts, Moon must travel in the company of strangers to a distant realm where he will finally face the forgotten secrets of his past, even as an old enemy returns with a vengeance.

The Fell, a vicious race of shapeshifting predators, menaces groundlings and Raksura alike. Determined to crossbreed with the Raksura for arcane purposes, they are driven by an ancient voice that cries out from. . . .

On Thea’s Radar:

First up, a science fiction title from Night Shade Books – the author recently contacted us and OF COURSE I obliged (it looks awesome):

“Nobody leaves Osiris. Osiris is a lost city. She has lost the world and world has lost her . . .”

Rising high above the frigid waters, the ocean city of Osiris has been cut off from the land since the Great Storm 50 years ago. Most believe that Osiris is the last city on Earth. Adelaide is the black-sheep granddaughter of the city’s Architect. A jaded socialite, she wants little to do with her powerful relatives — until her troubled twin brother disappears mysteriously. Vikram, a third-generation storm refugee, sees his own people dying of cold and starvation. He hopes to use Adelaide to bring about much-needed reforms — but who is using whom? As another brutal winter brings Osiris closer to riot and revolution, two very different people attempt to bridge the gap dividing the city, only to find a future far more complicated than either of them ever imagined.

Next up, a decidedly-Thea-sounding book (it’s pitched as Life As We Knew It meets Lord of the Flies…umm, YES):

Life As We Knew It meets Lord of the Flies in a mall that looks just like yours

A biological bomb has just been discovered in the air ducts of a busy suburban mall. At first nobody knows if it’s even life threatening, but then the entire complex is quarantined, people start getting sick, supplies start running low, and there’s no way out. Among the hundreds of trapped shoppers are four teens.

These four different narrators, each with their own stories, must cope in unique, surprising styles, changing in ways they wouldn’t have predicted, trying to find solace, safety, and escape at a time when the adults are behaving badly.

This is a gripping look at people and how they can–and must–change under the most dire of circumstances.

And not always for the better.

Next up, another Night Shade book – based on the Odyssey, but set in outer space. Yes please (even though the super exclamation!point! blurb is a little jarring…).


Fifteen years after winning the Spacer War, Cesar Vaquero has returned to Ithaca, a rugged orbital colony that boasts the only herd of cattle in space, and a wife and a son who don’t even recognize him when he shows up at their doorstep. Posing as a homeless drifter, he soon discovers that making his way home past space pirates, one-eyed giants, and mad scientists was the easy part . . .

Penelope swore off men after her husband disappeared. She’s been busy enough running the ranch, raising her son, and fending off pushy suitors eager to get their hands on her and her herd. But something about this war-weary drifter stirs forgotten feelings in her, even as sabotage, rustlers, and a space stampede threaten to tear Ithaca apart!

Spin the Sky is an rollicking, high-spirited riff on a certain classic odyssey—featuring characters as big and full of surprises as Space itself!

I loved Unwind, the harrowing dystopian novel from Neal Schusterman – and now the sequel is almost here. I cannot wait to read Unwholly.

It’s finally here. The long-awaited sequel to the bestselling Unwind, which Publishers Weekly called a “gripping, brilliantly imagined futuristic thriller.”

Thanks to Connor, Lev, and Risa—and their high-profile revolt at Happy Jack Harvest Camp—people can no longer turn a blind eye to unwinding. Ridding society of troublesome teens while simltaneously providing much-needed tissues for transplant might be convenient, but its morality has finally been brought into question. However, unwinding has become big business, and there are powerful political and corporate interests that want to see it not only continue, but also expand to the unwinding of prisoners and the impoverished.

Cam is a product of unwinding; made entirely out of the parts of other unwinds, he is a teen who does not technically exist. A futuristic Frankenstein, Cam struggles with a search for identity and meaning and wonders if a rewound being can have a soul. And when the actions of a sadistic bounty hunter cause Cam’s fate to become inextricably bound with the fates of Connor, Risa, and Lev, he’ll have to question humanity itself.

Rife with action and suspense, this riveting companion to the perennially popular Unwind challenges assumptions about where life begins and ends—and what it means to live.

Both Ana and I were huge fans of Megan Crewe’s The Way We Fall, and I cannot wait for the sequel!

First, the virus took Kaelyn’s friends, then her family, and now it’s spread beyond her island. The only thing people know for sure is that no one is safe. But when Kaelyn finds samples of a vaccine hidden in her father’s abandoned laboratory, she knows there’s only one option: seek out someone who can replicate it.

As Kaelyn and her friends head to the mainland, carrying with them hopes for a cure, they face greater challenges than they ever could have imagined. Not everyone they meet wants Kaelyn to succeed—and many simply want her dead and the vaccine for themselves. With the chance of finding help slipping away, will Kaelyn be forced to sacrifice those she loves in order to rescue the human race?

Megan Crewe’s second installment in this powerful and gripping YA series tackles self-preservation, first love, and hope, while refusing to flinch from the sacrifices they require. This heart-wrenching story of one girl’s bravery and unbeatable spirit will leave readers fervently awaiting the final book in this suspenseful and action-packed trilogy.

I wasn’t crazy about The Hidden Goddess, but I loved The Native Star SO much that I’m willing to give book 3 of M.K. Hobson’s Veneficas Americas series a try:

THE YEAR IS 1910. Eighteen-year-old Will Edwards has landed a prestigious apprenticeship at Detroit’s Tesla Industries, the most advanced scientific research center in the United States. It’s a plum prize for a young man who dreams of a career in the new science of Otherwhere Engineering.

But his father doesn’t want him to go. And he won’t tell him why.

Determined to get there by any means necessary, Will finds unexpected support along the way. His old friend Jenny Hansen—daughter of a San Francisco timber baron—is eager to help him for reasons of her own. And so is his estranged brother Ben, who he hasn’t seen in over ten years.

But running away turns out to be the easy part. On the first full moon after his eighteenth birthday, Will is stricken by a powerful magic—a devastating curse laid upon his ancestors by the malevolent sangrimancer Aebedel Cowdray. Will must find a way to control the magic that possesses him—or the vengeful warlock’s spirit will destroy everything and everyone he loves.

And that’s it from us! What books do you have on YOUR radar?

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  • Tom
    June 30, 2012 at 12:38 am

    I don’t want to overhype it, but if I had to make a bet, I would bet that you love Fly By Night.

  • Estara
    June 30, 2012 at 12:56 am

    Brave Story was turned into an anime-movie as well, but I’ve not watched it so I can’t tell you if it’s any good ^^.

  • Heidi
    June 30, 2012 at 8:51 am

    How much do I love the cover of Twelve Minutes to Midnight? And I haven’t read Fly By Night yet either, but I concur that it sounds pretty fantastic.

  • de Pizan
    June 30, 2012 at 9:59 am

    Another confirmation that Fly by Night is awesome. It’s an incredibly interesting and odd world Hardinge created.

  • Small Review
    June 30, 2012 at 10:36 am

    Brave Story is VERY popular at my library. I haven’t gotten a chance to read it yet, mostly because my library kids always have it checked out. 🙂 Hope you enjoy it!

    Twelve Minutes to Midnight looks good. Adding it to my TBR. Thanks!

  • janicu
    June 30, 2012 at 11:06 am

    There’s a finished cover for THE SIREN DEPTHS? *clappy hands*!!

  • Nymeth
    July 1, 2012 at 4:29 am

    yay, Fly By Night! I looove that book and can’t wait to hear what you think.

  • Ana
    July 1, 2012 at 5:32 am

    ok, so basically, I really need to read Fly by Night ASAP!

  • Beth
    July 1, 2012 at 8:29 am

    You do need to read Fly by Night ASAP – the book is quirky, elegant genius. As are all her other books!

  • Stephanie
    July 1, 2012 at 11:02 am

    Fly By Night is awesome! Very gnarly prose and a totally original world. I hope you like it!

  • Stephanie @ Read in a Single Sitting
    July 1, 2012 at 4:37 pm

    Fly By Night is *brilliant*. You’ll love it.

  • Becci
    July 1, 2012 at 11:44 pm

    Well if you’re looking for old books that you haven’t read yet, try The Only Alien on the Planet by Kristen D. Randle. It has nothing to do with aliens or UFO’s but is about a boy who has alienated himself from society by never speaking or interacting socially with anyone. The novel is a powerful story about friendship, family, and healing. It has been a favorite of mine for years, yet is largely overlook by the world. You should give it a try. I doubt you’ll be disappointed.

  • Andria Buchanan
    July 2, 2012 at 4:07 am

    Oh man I just finished The Way We Fall I can’t wait to read the sequel. And Thea your book picks all just ended up on my when my head’s above water and I’m through this pile of books list.

  • capillya
    July 2, 2012 at 12:28 pm

    I’ve always loved the cover to Brave Story, too. I’ve picked it up several times every time I’ve seen it, but have never purchased it. I hope you review it!

  • erin
    July 14, 2012 at 7:10 am


    Had to comment because I’m _thrilled_ that someone else has heard of _The Only Alien on the Planet_!

    I loved that book so much in high school–and still do, although I suspect some of the psychology of it is a little implausible as an adult (can’t say more without spoilers).

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